The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of 5 percent against 1990 levels over the five-year period of 2008-2012. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."
The protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997, and entered into force on February 16, 2005.